Sunday, June 21, 2015

CPP/NDF: Punish the criminal Delamance group!

NDF propaganda statement posted late to the CPP Website (Jun 13): Punish the criminal Delamance group!

NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Media Statement
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in North Central Mindanao Region (NDFP-NCMR) strongly condemns the criminal human rights violations committed and being committted by the bandit Delamance group against ordinary inhabitants of the barrios in Cabanglasan and Malaybalay, Bukidnon, especially the recent killing of three innocent civilians and holding the New People’s Army (NPA) responsible for the act.

For some months now, the Delamances have hunted those they believe have had something to do with the killing of Lito Delamance in March 28, around 9:00 am. This resulted in the evacuation of 93 individuals, mostly women and children, who, until now, endure the difficult conditions in their evacuation site in the capitol of Malaybalay and are afraid to return to their homes with the Delamance threat looming. Since March, these families have dispersed, fleeing the threat to their lives. Only recently have they united to present their case to the government.

Most recent of their brutal acts were the killings of Nono Landasan in March 28, Pepen Sulatan in April 29 and Juenabentura Lumbad in May 27.

Bonggak Delamance’s group also ambushed Rosella Cahanggan and her companions in April 15 in Ronquillo, Purok 6, Can-ayan, Malaybalay City. Cahanggan was on her way home from their farm together with her three children, all minors and the youngest of which was only eight months old, and Tepin Guaynon, 28. They were ambushed by the road and fired at by high-power firearms for more than five minutes. Tepin Guaynon was wounded in the incident.

They have perpetrated countless cases of harassment, gun-pointing and assault since March.

For some decades the Delamance group has been known to be a rabid counterrevolutionary and anti-people bandit group armed and used by the reactionary armed forces to impede the expansion of the revolutionary movement in the area the Delamances have claimed to be theirs. In 1995, the military orchestrated their fake surrender and presented them as NPA surenderees. They were rearmed by the military under Maj. Roberto Dumalahay in 1997 in order to terrorize the people tilling the land in the mountainous areas of Cabanglasan and Malaybalay.

Since then, they have used their firearms in hunting suspected NPA supporters, landgrabbing, extortion, stealing farm animals and harassing people. The group is also connected to illegal marijuana smuggling activities. These acts were not checked because they are being cuddled by the reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines, the police and some unscrupulous government officials.

In the past year, they have committed numerous cases of assault for minor spats, harassment and indiscriminate firing, as well as extortion directed against people farming or doing other livelihood in the area.

In October 2014, they killed Francisco Lasconia, 55, due to his quarrel with Jaiward Delamance. The family of the former fled and never returned to their domicile.

Because of their criminal and counterrevolutionary acts, the Delamance group has become a target of the NPA. In April 14, 2012, an NPA team ambushed Melody “Datu Manlagingkit” Delamance in Poblacion, Cabanglasan. Delamance was killed on the spot, but two Red fighters also died during the firefight that ensued between them and responding police forces.

The people continue to cry for justice for the victims of the savage acts of the Delamance group. Their crimes, as well as the fact that they are being cuddled by the reactionary AFP, must further be exposed. The people should call for the disarming, prosecution and imprisonment of the criminals. We challenge local government officials to make a stand and heed the decades-long call of the masses for justice. On the other hand, the revolutionary movement will, in its own means, persevere in serving justice to the victims and in punishing the bandit Delamance group in due time.

Cesar Renerio
Spokesperson, NDFP-NCMR

CPP/NDF/NPA: 1st PBC defeats Army in ambush, claims 22 casualties

NDF/NPA propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 21): 1st PBC defeats Army in ambush, claims 22 casualties

NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines
New People’s Army
Regional Command
Southern Mindanao Region
Press Statement
June 21, 2015
Red fighters belonging to the New People’s Army 1st Pulang Bagani Company routed a platoon of the 69th Infantry Battalion, killing 12 troopers and wounding 10 others, last June 17, 2015 at about 3:40pm in Sitio Pag-asa, Barangay Paquibato Proper, Davao City.

The recent NPA ambush was a just retaliation and revolutionary justice to the victims of the 69th IB’s system of atrocities, harassment and sheer terror in the civilian populace of Paquibato. The most recent of such atrocities was the Army unit’s brutal strafing of the house of peasant leader Aida Seisa which injured her 12-year old child and which killed three civilians who were her house guests of her daughter’s birthday celebration.

Despite strong condemnation of the massacre from many quarters, the 69th IB has cowardly maintained it was a legitimate encounter and has made the ridiculous lie that they were serving a warrant of arrest midnight of June 14. The Army viciously presented the civilian victims as armed NPA guerrillas in the village during the daylight following the massacre. In a mockery of justice, the 69th IB and the 10th ID-AFP has charged the victims of trumped-up cases.

Under Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan Peace and Development Outreach Program or PDOP, peasants and Lumads in Paquibato have had no rest from this killer battalion which used to be under General Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan of the 7th ID but is currently under the operational command of the 10th ID.

For as long as these injustices remain, the NPA shall continue to defend the masses and realize revolutionary justice.

During the June 17 ambush, 2 NPA guerrillas of the 1st Pulang Bagani Command were martyred: Ka Jan-jan and Ka Marlo. To them we pay our highest and most profound tribute. They will remain as our wellspring of inspiration and hope.

(sgd.) Rigoberto F. Sanchez
Southern Mindanao Regional Command

NPA rebel wanted for robbery, homicide falls

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 21): NPA rebel wanted for robbery, homicide falls

Police have arrested a suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) who is currently employed as a security officer of a Quezon City subdivision where some high-ranking government officials live.
Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said 47-year-old Benigno Umbay was actually an inactive communist rebel based in Northern Luzon who has been in hiding after he was tagged in robbery and homicide cases in Ilocos region several years back.
Magalong said Umbay was arrested inside his residence along Kalayaan Street in Barangay Batasan Hills in Quezon City at around 6 a.m. on Saturday.
“He has been in hiding after several cases were filed against him. An arrest warrant was actually issued against him by a court in Ilocos Sur,” said Magalong.

Palace keen on talks with Reds

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 22): Palace keen on talks with Reds

The government is not giving up on the possibility of resuming the stalled peace talks with the local communist group despite challenges in the past.
“Based on an update from Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), we are open and interested in resuming the formal talks,” Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in an interview with state-owned radio station, DZRB.
Coloma said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and Undersecretary Manny Bautista of the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice and Peace went to Loreto, Agusan del Sur, early this month to witness the surrender of more than 150 communist rebels.
He said the two officials witnessed the laying down of arms by the rebels while lauding their decision to return to the civilian life. The rebels were reportedly given cash aid and livelihood assistance.
“Our government wants to pursue the peace process and continues to study the possibilities of resumption of the peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front),” he said.
The government earlier said it would coordinate with Norway to determine how the peace talks with the CPP-NPA can move forward. Norway has facilitated the peace talks between the government and the NDF, the negotiating arm of the communist group.
Talks have been suspended a few years ago due to a conflict on the rebels’ demand for the release of some of their detained consultants. Rebel negotiators have questioned the sincerity of the Aquino government in the peace talks, reportedly saying they prefer to talk peace with the next administration.

Army fights back

From the Manila Times (Jun 18): Army fights back

THE MILITARY will file a countercharge against a leader of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in relation to the incident in Purok 7, Barangay Paradise Embac, Paquibato District on Sunday where three people ended up dead in what soldiers claimed was a legitimate encounter.
Speaking yesterday during the AFP-PNP press conference, Maj. Gen. Eduardo, commander of 10th Infantry Division, said that they are set to file a case of obstruction of justice and illegal possession of improvised explosive device against Aida Seisa, KMP president.
He claimed that Seisa is now missing after the incident.
The military and police also stressed that what happened was a legitimate operation.
“It is a legitimate encounter. This will be proven by the report of the SOCO (Scene of the Crime Operatives).”
He said that the three killed, identified as Poligario Quimbo, Datu Ruben Cainlog and Datu Randy Carnasa, were members of New People’s Army and they tested positive for powder burns which means they “were able to fire their guns.”
“The claims that they were civilians are not true. This is part of the propaganda,” he said.
Soldiers reportedly recovered an M14 rifle, two improvise explosive devices and two grenades at the scene.
Meanwhile, Sr. Insp. Milgrace Driz, spokesperson of Davao City Police Office, said that any law enforcement agency can serve the warrant.
“Based on the report being submitted to the office, it was a legitimate operation,” she said. “They were about to serve the warrant when they encountered the rebels.”
Quimbo allegedly joined the communist rebellion over a month ago as member of the Pulang Bagani Command 1 under Leoncio Pitao. As he went underground, Quimbo was reportedly replaced as a tribal chieftain in the area.
Randy Carnasa was also reportedly a member of Milisang Bayan, the lowest NPA unit.
He said that prior the encounter, they received a tip about the presence of armed men in the area, and Leoncio Pitao aka Kumander Parago and a Nelson Anggoy were also there.
Soldiers under 69th Infantry Battalion were deployed to serve the arrest warrant against Pitao and Anggoy.
“They were fired upon upon approaching the encounter site,” he said. “Anggoy and Pitao escaped during the encounter.”
He also said that they welcome any investigation into the incident.
“We are very much happy because now we can prove how the rebels use the people in Paquibato,” he said. “We will face any investigation to prove that the three killed were members of the NPA.”
“We can then prove why are the NPAs staying at the house of Aida Seisa that night?” the army commander added.
A human rights group is set to file a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for their deaths.
Hanimay Suazo, secretary general of Karapatan, told TIMES that they will bring the case of Cainlog, Quimbo, and Carnasa before the human rights body so that the military responsible for their death would be meted punishment.
Members of the city council committee on human rights will also visit the encounter site to determine the truth in light of the accusations thrown against each other by the military and progressive groups.

3 US lab experts take witness stand in Pemberton trial

From the Philippine Star posted to ABS-CBN (Jun 22): 3 US lab experts take witness stand in Pemberton trial

A forensic expert, a latent print examiner, a toxicologist and another agent of the US Naval Command Investigative Service (NCIS) will take the witness stand today as court proceedings on the murder case against Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton continue.

A source confirmed to The STAR the scheduled appearance of Dr. George Jackson, toxicologist of the US Armed Forces Medical Examiner System (AFMES); Jessica LeCroy, latent print examiner of the US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory; Derek Dorrien, also of USACIL; and Philip Boyd, NCIS agent.

The source, however, refused to disclose further details.

An NCIS agent took the witness stand during the court hearing on June 8.

Jeremy Dastrup, based in Singapore, told the court and confirmed the testimonies made by American medical and forensic experts that Pemberton bore scratches, injuries and lacerations.

Dastrup said he witnessed the physical examination conducted by senior medical officers on the USS Peleliu, took pictures of the proceedings and helped gather information related to the incident.

Findings indicated that Pemberton bore minimal defensive wounds.

Dastrup said he also conducted interviews with Pemberton’s buddies, Lance Corporals Jairn Michael Rose, Bennett Eric Dahl, Christopher Miller and Daniel Fabian Pulido.

No hearing yet on Paquibato deaths

From the Sun Star-Davao (Jun 21): No hearing yet on Paquibato deaths

THE Davao City Council is yet to schedule a committee hearing with members of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division following the deaths of three lumads in Paquibato District last June 14.

Human Rights Committee chair Councilor Karlo Bello proposed to have a committee hearing with the military before the 22nd regular session on Tuesday to address the concerns of the families involved and the civil society groups.

"We will invite the military and hopefully, those who were involved in the encounter as described by the military and on the contrary described as an attack by the members of the family [of the victims]," Bello said in a privilege speech.

Aside from the military, the victims' families and the civil society groups, Bello said he would also invite the Women and Children Committee chairperson Councilor Leah Librado-Yap to join them on the committee hearing.

Councilor Diosdado Mahipus, who sent his condolence and sympathy to the victims' families, has also committed to join the hearing.

"I call upon the committee you make me an active member of the committee [hearing] because from now on I would assist in making sure that if these are military personnel, we will ask for their dismissal," Mahipus said.

Mahipus said he believes that harassment is going on in Barangay Paradise Embac in Paquibato, and he would like to know who these people are, and to address the concerns of the residents in the area.

Bello also urged the military to re-visit their policies and to investigate the actions of their personnel allegedly involved in the incident.

Soldiers belonging to the 69th Infantry Battalion admitted Sunday to killing Randy Carnasa, Rubel Enlog, and Oligario Quimbo, believed to be members of the New People's Army, in an encounter.

Army offensive launched vs rebels in Sta. Cruz

From the Sun Star-Davao (Jun 21): Army offensive launched vs rebels in Sta. Cruz

THE Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division launched on Saturday pursuit operations against suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) they encountered in Sta. Cruz town in Davao del Sur on June 19.

Lieutenant Vergel Lacambra, 10th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the encounter led to one soldier’s death and wounding of two others. He withheld the identities, as families still have to be informed.

"The wounded soldiers are in stable condition at Camp Panacan Station Hospital, while a necessary coordination was already made by the 39th Infantry Battalion to the family of the soldier who was killed in the firefight," Lacambra said.

He said the operations were conducted against the Guerilla Front 51, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) of the NPA.

The encounter took place around 12:10 p.m. Friday in Barangay Sinoron in Sta. Cruz town while the troops of the 39th Infantry Battalion were conducting security patrol in the area.

Lacambra said the troops recovered one M16 rifle, various landmines with accessory, and three backpacks containing personal belongings of the communist rebels.

Extremist group Ghuraba emerging in Lanao del Sur

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 20): Extremist group Ghuraba emerging in Lanao del Sur

Marawi City — Police and military intelligence units are on the prowl for members of an extremist group in Lanao del Sur rallying the jihadist ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and suspected of having been involved in various atrocities in this city and nearby areas.

A police intelligence official said higher authorities have given the “go signal” for the manhunt after months of surveillance on the movement of the “black flag movement” group, locally known as Ghuraba.

Results of the surveillance were bolstered by the recent capture here of a member of the extremist group, he said.

Col. Manolo Samarita, deputy commander of the army’s 103rd Brigade, yesterday confirmed that armed members of the group attacked and wounded a soldier at barangay Mapandi here on Wednesday.

But the wounded Army trooper was able to fire back, scaring his attackers and wounding one of them, Samarita said.

He said responding police and military elements captured the wounded attacker, who was later identified as Junaid Kiram Undac, when brought to a hospital here for treatment under heavy security.

Samarita said the other attackers fled on board a white Ford Ranger pickup upon sensing the arrival of the reinforcing troops, leaving the wounded Undac and his motorcycle behind.

Relatives of Army Corporal Mamintal Madlawi, a Maranao, who was shot dead unarmed on April 7 here by two or more suspected members of the Ghuraba group, said their kin owned the motorcycle seized from Undac They said the motorbike was taken by attackers of Madlawi after they shoto him.

“At last, we are now certain about the perpetrators of my brother’s killers,” said Raihanah, Madlawi’s brother whose family has been coordinating authorities in search of justice.

Raihanah, in an earlier interview, dismissed insinuations from some quarters that fellow military elements were behind his brother’s killing.

Samarita said Undac is believed to be among those behind the attack on a military detachment in Madalum, Lanao del Sur on September 6, 2013. That left one soldier and three attackers dead. The three slain attackers were identified in earlier military reports as members of the Ghuraba group sent on a liquidation mission in Central Mindanao areas.

IS-inspired group hunted down in Lanao del Sur

From the Manila Times (Jun 21): IS-inspired group hunted down in Lanao del Sur

INSPIRED BY IS A mysterious group of radicals has emerged in Lanao del Sur and other areas in Southern Philippines that started with less than 20 members. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

INSPIRED BY IS A mysterious group of radicals has emerged in Lanao del Sur and other areas in Southern Philippines that started with less than 20 members. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
After capturing one of their members from a recent clash in this city, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are hunting down members of another Islamic State (IS)-inspired group called Khilafah Islamiya Movement (KIM), locally known as Ghuraba, that is believed to be behind major atrocities in Southern Philippines.
Col. Manolo Samarita, deputy commander of Marawi city-based military 103rd brigade, told The Manila Times on Saturday that operations have been intensified against the group of bandits involved in murders, kidnapping, robbery, extortion and several atrocities in this country’s lone Islamic city.

While Samarita did not name the alleged group, he hinted the bandits were also behind the previous attack in Madalum town of Lanao del Sur. The military official said gunmen ambushed and injured an unnamed soldier at Barangay Mapandi on Wednesday.

The lone wounded officer was able to fight back and wounded one of the attackers identified as Junaid Kiram Undac, who is under police and military security but undergoing treatment at local hospital here, he said.

“For longest time ngayon lang nakahuli [we now captured one],” Samarita added.

Undac’s companions, who were onboard in a white Ford Ranger pickup, escaped the clash site left and behind Undac that lead to his capture along with the recovery of an XRM motorcycle he was using.

The family of Corporal Mamintal Madlawi, who was killed unarmed by unidentified men at Barangay Matampay in April 7, claimed ownership of the recovered XRM motorcycle, allegedly robbed from the victim after his murder.

Sources said the new group of local jihadists believe looting things from non-Muslims are “halal” or permissible to Islam, believing they are on the stage of a jihad. This, however, is disputed by many Muslim Sunni scholars.

Responsible for attacks

 Madalum was attacked in September 6, 2013 and claimed at least five fatalities, a soldier and four other members of the radical group Ghuraba, a Lanao-based group of the KIM-Black Flag Movement (KIM-BFM).

Killed Ghuraba members, which local communities consider as “shaheed” or martyrs, were identified only as Abu Shaheed Dimalna and Abdulaziz alias Mocca.

According to intelligence communities, Dimalna was among the members of the KIM-BFM tagged in the 2013 bombing of the Lim Ket Kai mall Cagayan de Oro City together with Hapidh Usman, Salahuddin Hassan, Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan, Khair Mundos and leader of the KIM-BFM Humam Abdul Najid.

Abdulaziz was also allegedly involved in the killing of American Michael Alan Turner in Cagayan de Oro City on February 2013. Dimalna is also a suspect in the American’s killing.

Abdulaziz and Dimalna were among youth personally trained by Malaysian terrorist Marwan within the KIM-BFM groups, sources said.

Other members of the KIM-BFM were also being eyed as behind the 2013 Cotabato bombing, a month before the Madalum clash.

Ghuraba is headed by Najid, a Jema’ah Islamiyah affiliate and close associate of Marwan, who was neutralized in Mamasapano town of Maguindanao during the January 25 police covert operation that resulted in the killing of at least 44 police commandos, 18 Muslim rebels and five civilians.

The group wants to establish an Islamic caliphate in the country and has pledged allegiance to the IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham or ISIS.

Suspected Abu Sayyaf member nabbed, explosives seized in Zamboanga City

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 21): Suspected Abu Sayyaf member nabbed, explosives seized in Zamboanga City

Police and military forces on Saturday night raided an alleged safe house of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Barangay (village) Talabaan here, resulting in the arrest of a suspected bandit and the recovery of explosives.

Navy Commander Roy Vincent Trinidad, chief of staff of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, identified the suspect as Salam Naim Arula.

The recovered bomb components consisted of a liquified petroleum gas tank, ammonium nitrate, nails and other shrapnel, M14 ammunition, improvised blasting caps, electric wire and an improvised bomb.

The combined police intelligence forces and members of the Joint Task Group Zamboanga conducted the raid on a house in Barangay Talabaan to arrest Abs Indanan alias Alkobar, an alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf based in Al Barka town in Basilan.

Indanan was not in the house during the raid. Authorities instead arrested Arula.

Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida meets GPH and MILF officials in Tokyo

From MindaNews (Jun 21): Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida meets GPH and MILF officials in Tokyo

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to peace and development in Mindanao, particularly in the Bangsamoro, during his meeting Saturday with officials of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

A report from the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo dated June 20 said Kishida met with National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao, and Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel M. Lopez, and MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, at the sidelines of the Japan-organized “High-Level Seminar on Peacebuilding, National Reconciliation, and Democratization in Asia” at the United Nations University in Tokyo.

Kishida welcomed the steady progress in the Bangsamoro peace process and the commitment demonstrated by the GPH and MILF, the report said.

He also reiterated Japan’s continued support for the Bangsamoro process and to help spur development in the new autonomous political entity, through initiatives such as J-BIRD Phase II, as pledged by no less than Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his Summit Meeting with President Aquino in Tokyo last 4 June.

Japan is a member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the International Contact Group (ICG) that are assisting the GPH-MILF peace process.

It played a historic role in the history of the peace process by hosting that first meeting between President Aquino and MILF chair Murad on Augut 4, 2011 in Tokyo.

In that two-hour meeting, both parties agreed to fast-track the peace process by signing a peace agreement within the first half of the six-year term of the Aquino administration (2010 to 2013) so that the second half (2013 to 2016) would be spent on implementation.

A second meeting in Japan took place on June 24, 2014, where the two leaders met for “15 to 20 minutes” in Hiroshima, just before the President delivered his keynote address at The Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao seminar.

Accompanied by his peace panel chair, Mohagher Iqbal, Murad raised their “concerns” about the Malacanang-proposed revisions on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a copy of which the MILF received a few days earlier.

“Turning point”

The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo’s report said Murad thanked Japan for its role in supporting the process through its membership in the IMT and ICG and for hosting the 2001 meeting which he described as “the turning point” in the peace negotiations.

In his speech at the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao seminar in Hiroshima a year ago, Aquino also described the 2011 meeting as “the turning point.”

“This meeting happened at a crucial time: Talks with the MILF had reached a difficult standstill, and I had broached the idea of directly meeting with Chairman Murad to move the discussions forward. To their credit, they responded in the affirmative. In hindsight, to us, that was the turning point in our narrative to secure a just and lasting peace. Trust was established between brothers, and genuine dialogue was possible,” he said.

The Philippine Embassy report said that NCMF Secretary Lao highlighted in her speech the decommissioning process for MILF weapons and combatants, with the ceremonial turnover of 55 high-powered firearms and 20 crew-served weapons on June 16 at the gymnasium at the old Maguindanao Capitol.

Lao said the decommissioning happened even as the Bangsamoro Basic Law that would pave the way for the creation of a new autonomous political entity based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, is still pending in Congress.

Kishida congratulated the parties for this important step and urged both GPH and MILF “to exercise leadership to sustain the ongoing transition towards the establishment of the Bangsamoro and preserving the gains in the peace process,” the Embassy press release said.

Ambassador Lopez thanked Japan for its reiteration of support to Mindanao, recalling the discussions between President Aquino and PM Abe during the President’s state visit in early June.

‘War of the Videos’ Episode 2 airs today on Facebook

From Malaya (Jun 22): ‘War of the Videos’ Episode 2 airs today on Facebook

THE Philippines levels up its “War of the Videos” against China Monday by airing the second episode of the “Kalayaan” documentary, which will tackle the historical angle of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) issue, on the Facebook accounts of President Aquino, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and several personalities.

Facebook is the biggest social media network site in the world, and its video capabilities are currently being used as information and promotional tool by many publishers.

DFA spokesman Charles Jose said Episode 2 will be launched jointly with the Presidential Communications Operations Office. He said among the featured speakers in the episode is Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

“Episode 2 will be launched online today at 4 p.m. on the official Facebook account of the President at and the DFA at,” Jose said.

He said the sequel will also be launched on the Facebook pages of broadcaster Lourd de Veyra, director/photographer Rodolfo Sabayton Jr, and director/musician RA Rivera Jr.

Jose said Episode 2 will also be aired on government-owned People’s Television Network-PTV 4 at 5:30 p.m. with replays every 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. from June 23 to 26.

The first episode, which was launched last June 12 coinciding with Independence Day, tackled the economic side of the issue.

“Kalayaan” is a three-part documentary series on the West Philippine Sea produced by the DFA, in partnership with PCOO. Each episode focuses on a different angle of the issue: economic, historical and legal.

Jose said the documentary is part of the nationwide information, education and communication campaign of the DFA to increase the level of public awareness and understanding of the issues relating to the WPS.

The third episode is slated for release in early July.

The Philippines has filed a historic legal challenge to China’s sweeping nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Netherlands.

The arbitral panel is set to start oral arguments on the case next month.

Beijing has refused to participate in the proceeding as it insisted on bilateral negotiation to resolve the maritime territorial dispute.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Episode 2, would be titled ”Pamanang Karagatan.”

The first episode, with the title  “Kalayaan: Karapatan sa Karagatan,” featured an aerial tour of Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag Shoal) along with the testimonies of local fishermen, who were allegedly harassed by the Chinese Coast Guards, and interviews with maritime experts.

As of 4 p.m. Sunday, the “Kalayaan: Karapatan sa Karagatan” episode posted in the President’s Facebook account already gained 12,123 likes, 377,430 views and had been shared 23,368 times. The post on the DFA’s Facebook account generated 725 Likes, 44,977 views and 3,154 shares.


The Philippine Navy will start today separate naval drills with the United States and Japan, off Palawan which is near the disputed areas in the South China.

However, Navy spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo said the exercises should not be linked to the territorial dispute because “these are just for interoperability.”

Filipino and US officials will formally open the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercises at the Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoni in Puerto Princesa City. The exercise will run until Thursday.

The CARAT exercise includes several at-sea events, including a gunnery exercise that will feature the Philippine Navy’s BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz and the US Navy’s littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth.

Lt. Liezl Vidallon, public affairs officer of the Navy’s Philippine Fleet, said the CARAT exercise will involve 300 personnel on the Philippine side. A similar number of US servicemen will take part in the training.

Vidallon said the Navy has earmarked an AW-109 helicopter and an Islander plane for the exercise. On the US side, the Americans will be using the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard, and a P-3C surveillance aircraft.

On the other hand, the exercise with Japan will be conducted upon the arrival of a Japanese Navy P-3C Orion aircraft in Palawan and will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster response, maritime search and rescue, and maritime situational awareness.

Reds shot dead military asset in Sorsogon

Posted to the Daily Tribune (Jun 22): Reds shot dead military asset in Sorsogon

New People’s Army (NPA) members shot dead a 29-year-old man who was buying bread in a convenient store last Saturday afternoon in Barangay Culasi, Matnog, Sorsogon.

A police report identified the victim as Rolly Dieza, single and a resident of Barangay Sinebaran, Matnog, Sorsogon.

Dieza was buying bread at the store at around 3:25 p.m. when young men armed with .45-caliber pistols approached him and shot him on his head and body.

The suspects then casually walked out of the establishment.

The report said the rebels had suspected Dieza of being a military asset who had been giving the military and the police information on their activities which his relatives have strongly denied.

It said the victim had a grudge against the rebels for killing a cousin months back.

Military insists: ‘Morong 43’ NPA rebels, not health workers

From the Daily Tribune (Jun 22): Military insists: ‘Morong 43’ NPA rebels, not health workers

Despite CHR finding

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday stood firm that the so-called “Morong 43” were not health workers but members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) as it vowed to respect the decision issued by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP-Public Affairs Office chief, stressed that the military maintains its stance that the “Morong 43” were NPA members.

Cabunoc cited the confession made by five of those arrested in Feb. 6, 2010 in Morong, Rizal and the return of several others to the mountains after they were released from detention.

He said that two of the “Morong 43” were killed during encounters with NPA in Bulacan and Bicol while another one was captured in Batangas and one surrendered in Mindoro.

Last week, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) released a resolution issued by the CHR confirming the “Morong 43” were illegally arrested and were subjected to torture.

“We will not question the finding of the CHR about the Morong 43. However, we would like to maintain that they are not health workers but NPA members who were undergoing explosives training,” Cabunoc said.

“After their release, most of them went back to the mountains to rejoin the NPA,” he added.

Cabunoc said that matter of recommending filing of charges against any person for alleged human rights violations is well-within the competence of CHR as a constitutional body tasked to investigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights.

“The AFP will give due respect to such authority,” Cabunoc said.

Cabunoc, however, cited a Supreme Court decision issued in 2014 on the petition for habeas corpus stating there was no substantial argument to treat the issues raised by the relatives, including serious violations of the “Morong 43” constitutional rights.

In a 26-page resolution, the CHR said the rights of the medical workers were violated when they were illegally arrested based on a search warrant issued by a judge from a local court in Imus. The CHR said that the arrest of the Morong 43 was unlawful as there was no valid arrest warrant issued against any of them.

The CHR said its investigation showed that some of the medical workers arrested had contusions and abrasions and contusions on their wrists, forearms and head, which corroborated their account that they were blindfolded and handcuffed tightly for a long period.

China, US set for ‘vigorous’ talks on S. China Sea, other tough issues

From the Daily Tribune (Jun 22): China, US set for ‘vigorous’ talks on S. China Sea, other tough issues

The United States is vowing not to “paper over” differences with China at key talks this week weighed down by thorny issues of tensions in the South China Sea, trade and cyber-spying.

And while some analysts believe there will be few concrete results from the annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the two-day talks which open formally on Tuesday in Washington are seen as an important forum for managing ties between the two global powers.

“We talk through, we work through our differences. We seek to solve problems and to manage the problems that we can’t seem to solve,” said the top US diplomat for East Asia, Danny Russel.

“We don’t paper over these differences. We don’t turn a blind eye to problems. We discuss them and we seek to tackle them directly.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will host China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang for a private dinner on Monday, before the talks kick off at the State Department the next day.

The world’s two leading economies remain at odds over China’s claims to much of the South China Sea and Washington has repeatedly urged Beijing to stop building artificial islands in the key waterway.

Beijing and Manila, an ally of Washington, are in dispute over other islands and reefs in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), with the Philippines seeking arbitration from a United Nations-backed body.

China has refused to participate in the proceedings.

Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims over the South China Sea, which hosts major shipping lanes and is believed to hold vast mineral reserves.

Such moves are “troubling not just to us, but to the countries in the region,” Russel said, adding: “The prospect of militarizing those outposts runs counter to the goal of reducing tensions.”

Ties have also strained over US accusations of cyber-espionage.

A bilateral cyber-working group was suspended by Beijing last year after Washington indicted five Chinese military officers for hacking into US computers to pilfer intellectual property and US government secrets.

But both countries recognize it is an area where they need to cooperate.

“It’s a place where us and China both have very important equities and as in the past, we’ll continue to discuss those issues vigorously with our Chinese counterparts,” a US Treasury official said.

Chinese officials remained more circumspect with foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang saying the delegations would have an “in-depth exchange of views on China-US relations as well as other major issues of common interest.”

And the state-run Chinese press appeared optimistic about this seventh round of annual talks, which come ahead of a visit to the US by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September.

“Following months of diplomatic clashes over the South China Sea, Sino-US relations seem to be headed for calmer waters after key events in the lead-up to a major meeting between the two countries,” the China Daily said.

It quoted Wang Yiwei, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, saying:
“Washington understands the consequences of US-Sino confrontation, and conflict is not on the agenda.

“Still, it has to issue criticisms of China over the South China Sea to show its muscle and commitment to its Asian allies.”

Other knotty problems remain over trade, the new Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank — spurned so far by the US — and whether to include the Chinese yuan as part of the IMF’s international basket of reference currencies.

Washington has long claimed the yuan was manipulated, but the IMF said late last month the currency was “no longer undervalued.”

Such differences do “not necessarily doom the dialogue,” said Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, adding the talks will still be “professional.”

And David Dollar, an expert with the Brookings Institution, predicted the chill in ties arising from security issues would not spill over into the economic track.

Both countries “have compelling reasons to have a robust discussion of economic trends and to try to make progress on bilateral issues,” he said.

“If anything, tension on the security side makes the economic talks more important.”

One potential area of cooperation is on climate change, as UN-led talks loom in Paris in December to set new targets on limiting greenhouse gases.

“We’re still the two largest emitters in the world. We’re trying to position ourselves and lead, frankly, the international community into the Paris conference,” said Russel.

There is concern in Beijing however over President Barack Obama’s woes with Congress, particularly in trying to push forward a huge Pacific trade deal — even though it will not include China.

The Chinese “start to wonder, can the US government execute things in its own self-interest?” said Posen.

In Manila, MalacaƱang is set to launch the second episode of the three-part documentary on the South China Sea today.

“The focus of the second part is the history between the issues between the Philippines and China. One of the featured resource persons is Justice Antonio Carpio of the Supreme Court,” presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. yesterday told a radio interview.

The documentary is part of the nationwide Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign of the government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, to increase the level of public awareness and understanding of the issues relating to the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the Philippine military yesterday maintained that the separate exercises with the United States and Japan forces in Palawan are not intended to make any statement amid the continuing tension with China over the disputed West Philippine Sea.

Navy spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo, also Civil Military Operations Group chief, said the holding of the exercises with the US and Japan in Palawan, where the West Philippine Sea is located, is just incidental.
“We can say that it’s incidental that the activities were being held there but it’s not, in any way, intended to make any statement at all,” said Arevalo.

“It’s not related to that (West Philippine Sea dispute). Even before all these things have happened, the Philippine Navy engages foreign visiting navies,” he added.

He stressed the exercises were meant to enhanced interoperability with foreign navies.

Arevalo said the bilateral Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat) 2015 is an annual exercise between Filipino and US marines and sailors.

Carat 2015 will officially be opened today during ceremonies in Puerto Princesa City.
He added the exercise with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, also happening this week, is customary visit.

“With Japan, it’s customary navy-to-navy activity. We are just taking advantage of the visit to enhanced interoperability, sharing of best practices on HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster response) and search and rescue operations,” said Arevalo.

There were no further details about the activity with JMSDF.

Terrorism to persist in Mindanao even after peace deal–US report

From the Business Mirror (Jun 21): Terrorism to persist in Mindanao even after peace deal–US report

TERRORISM will continue in Mindanao despite the signing of a peace agreement by the Philippine government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a report from the United States State Department revealed.

The “Country Reports on Terrorism 2014” released on Saturday by the Bureau of Counterterrorism of the US State Department said terrorism will persist in the island group due to the presence of other armed groups, thus belying the government’s usual line that the deal with the Moro group will bring permanent peace in the South.

The US noted in its report that the agreement with the MILF gave birth to “peace spoilers” such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), rogue MILF members and other groups which have been carrying terrorist attacks and other criminal acts in Mindanao.

“The Philippine government submitted to Congress [a] draft legislation known as the Bangsamoro basic law in 2014 to establish a new autonomous government entity in the Southern Philippines, as stipulated by the CAB [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro],” the US said in its counterterrorism report.

“However, with several splinter groups —including rogue elements of the MILF, the BIFF and others—claiming they will not be bound by the law and are unwilling to forsake violence, a number of small-scale terrorist attacks occurred,” the report added.

Although the report noted a decline in the number of terrorist attacks in Mindanao during the previous year as a result of the signing of the CAB, groups opposed to the agreement have emerged.
“As a result, some of the groups who traditionally were committed to Moro secessionism now either back the peace deal or have splintered into less coherent groups like the BIFF,” the report said.

It added that after the signing of the CAB in March last year, “violent clashes with the BIFF continued in central Mindanao, indicating that violent spoilers to a lasting peace remain.”

The report noted not only the presence of the BIFF, but even the existence of terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Jema’ah Islamiyah and even the New People’s Army in Mindanao that have added to the terrorism cases in the South.

“Although Philippine counterterrorism efforts sustained pressure on terrorist organizations, members of these groups were suspected to have carried out attacks against the government, public  and private facilities, primarily in the central and western areas of Mindanao,” it said.

“Others were linked to extortion operations in other parts of the country. In addition, terrorist and rebel groups in the southern Philippines retained the capability and intent to conduct bomb-making training, small-scale shootings and ambushes,” it added.

US: Lasting peace settlement in PH remains a challenge

From the Philippine Star posted to ABS-CBN (Jun 21): US: Lasting peace settlement in PH remains a challenge

A lasting peace settlement remains a challenge in the Philippines despite an initial peace agreement designed to set the stage for the creation of a Bangsamoro autonomous government in Mindanao, the US State Department said.

In a report released on Friday, the US State Department said violent clashes with fighters from terrorist groups and splinter groups have erupted periodically in central Mindanao since the signing in March 2014 of a Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Aquino administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, “indicating that a lasting peace settlement remains a challenge.”

The State Department in its “Country Reports on Terrorism 2014” said overall Philippine-US counterterrorism cooperation continues to improve.

Terrorist groups, including the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Jemaah Islamiya (JI) and the Communist People’s Party/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) were unable to conduct major attacks compared to previous years due to continuous pressure from Philippine counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts, it said.

Nevertheless, these groups were able to mount dozens of small arms and improvised explosive device attacks, kidnappings for ransom and extortion efforts, the report said.

It also said the government has made progress in implementing its 2011-2016 Internal Peace and Security Plan that calls for the transition of internal security functions from the army to the police to enable the military to shift its focus to maritime security and territorial defense capabilities.

“To date, however, this transition continued to be slow and ineffective. Continued violent extremist activity, as well as counterterrorism capability gaps between the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police), slowed this transition and forced the AFP to continue playing the lead counterterrorism role in the Philippines,” the report said.

It said in 2014 the US continued to help the Philippines monitor and investigate groups engaged in or supporting terrorist activities.

The Philippines also received counterterrorism assistance from Australia, Britain, Canada and Japan primarily on capacity building on investigation, case management, intelligence and special operations training with the PNP and the AFP.

Palace still 'interested' in peace talks with Reds

From ABS-CBN (Jun 21): Palace still 'interested' in peace talks with Reds

Malacanang said it is still open to resuming the peace talks with communist rebels.

In a radio interview, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the government is “open and interested” in going back to the negotiating table with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its negotiating arm, the National Democratic Front.

“Patuloy pong bukas at interesado po tayong makipagtalakayan, at bukas din po tayo sa pagsisimula muli o resumption ng formal talks,” he said.

He said Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles and Undersecretary Manny Bautista of the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice and Peace were in Loreto, Agusan del Sur last June 3 to welcome 150 former communist rebels back to civilian life.

Deles hailed them as peace and development partners, amid the stalled peace talks with the CPP. The Reds declared during their 45th anniversary last year that they don’t want to pursue negotiations on the back of the Aquino administration’s “unwillingness to negotiate a just peace.”

“Ang ating pamahalaan po ay nais isulong ‘yung prosesong pangkapayapaan at patuloy pang sinusuri ang iba pang posibilidad para sa pormal na pagpapanumbalik o resumption ng negosasyon sa pagitan ng gobyerno at ng CPP-NPA-NDF,” Coloma said.

PH begins naval exercises with US, Japan this week

From ABS-CBN (Jun 21): PH begins naval exercises with US, Japan this week

The Philippine Navy will begin Monday separate naval drills with its two major allies, US and Japan, near the disputed West Philippine Sea.

Officials from the Philippine and US Navies are set to open the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) at the Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoni in Puerto Princesa City on Monday.

The exercises, which will run until Thursday, will involve around 300 Filipino soldiers and around 300 Americans.

Navy Philippine Fleet public affairs officer Lt. Liezl Vidallon said the Philippines will use an AW-109 helicopter and an Islander plane, while the US will use the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard and a P-3C surveillance aircraft.

Meanwhile, the exercises with Japan will also begin Monday upon the arrival of the Japanese Navy P-3C Orion aircraft in Palawan. The exercises will run until Wednesday.

Vidallon said the US and Japan exercises are not linked at all.

Navy spokesman Col. Edgard Arevalo said it's only incidental that the exercises will be done in Palawan waters fronting the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

“We can say that these activities are incidentally being held there (in Palawan). It’s not in any way intended to make any statement at all,” he said.

The Philippines earlier engaged the help of the international community in pressuring China to stop its reclamation activities in the disputed seas.

AFP South Luzon chief promoted to 3-star general

From ABS-CBN (Jun 21): AFP South Luzon chief promoted to 3-star general

President Benigno Aquino III has promoted Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya to the next higher rank of lieutenant general, making him a candidate to succeed retiring AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang.

"He deserves the rank as a long-time incumbent commander of the Southern Luzon Command. He had numerous accomplishments as commander of the Southern Luzon Command," said AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, referring to Visaya.

Aquino signed Visaya's promotion papers last Thursday.

Visaya, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1983, assumed the post of commander of the Lucena City-based Solcom September last year.

Prior to this, he was the commander of the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City.

"His promotion makes him one of the candidates for the chief of staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines. He is a candidate with his promotion," Cabunoc said.

Asked for his goal after his promotion, Visaya said: "It depends on what they will give me, if they will give me one. If they will, then I have to do my best."

"I will just wait if they are going to elevate me (to another position). If not, so be it. We are not actually choosing a position. I accept any position which they believe is fit for me," the official said.

The incoming AFP chief is usually chosen by the President, the military's commander-in-chief, from among the three-star generals and flag officers.

There are 11 three-star officers currently in the military establishment - five of them, however, are due for retirement within the year and may have a slim chance of getting appointed to the top military post.

The five are AFP vice chief of staff Lt. Gen. John Bonafos, Navy chief Vice Adm. Jesus Millan, Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Felicito Virgilio Trinidad, Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, and Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero.

Six other three-star officers - Visaya, Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, Central Command chief Lt. Gen. Nicanor Vivar, Western Command chief Vice Adm. Alexander Lopez, and PMA superintendent Lt. Gen. Oscar Lopez - are all retiring next year.

Iriberri, also of PMA class 1983, is said to be a protege of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
Delgado, on the other hand, is reportedly close to President Aquino, having served with the Presidential Security Group during the time of late president Corazon Aquino.